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Wallen will continue to lead Grant PUD

EPHRATA – Grant PUD commissioners announced today during their monthly workshop that Rich Wallen will remain as the utility’s Chief Executive Officer/General Manager. 

The commission had reluctantly accepted Wallen’s resignation on May 7 when he let them know he intended to take a position with Chelan PUD.  

Speaking for the entire board, Commission Vice President Terry Pyle dispelled rumors by asserting that the commission at no time asked for Wallen’s resignation and affirmed the commission’s support. 

“Rich has been a positive force for opportunity and growth in virtually every area of Grant PUD. His leadership has put us in the strongest financial position Grant has ever experienced,” he said in a prepared statement. “He has not allowed us to rest on the good work we are, and have been, doing for years. He has pushed us to prepare for the wave of change that is now on our doorstep. We are well on our way to solving the challenges that lie immediately in front of us.” 

He added, “So in the spirit of cooperation between Rich Wallen and the board, we are excited to announce Rich will continue to lead us on this voyage.” 

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Commission recap, 5/14/2024 — Irrigation rate could rebrand, expand for lower-cost ag power. More...

Note: We're still working through a new process for posting the commission audio. We'll add timestamps and audio as soon as we can. Very sorry for the delay.


Grant PUD’s Irrigation Service Rate 3 would be rebranded as “Agricultural Service” and expanded to include separate categories for electricity used for irrigation and other ag activities — if further study proves it financially viable.

Commissioners Tuesday got another look at the proposed revamped electric rate, intended to benefit Grant County’s farmers with lower-cost electricity.

The new rate would contain a “3a” classification for irrigation pumping and a “3b” classification for electricity used for growing crops, raising livestock and processing or storing ag products. 

Farmers for “3b-type” activities are now billed under Rate Schedules 2 and 7, for small and large commercial customers. These rate classes also include non-farm activity, including small retailers, big-box stores and supermarkets, who, unlike farmers, can generally pass their price increases on to consumers. 

Grant PUD will launch an info-gathering campaign to seek energy-use information from those customers who could qualify for the new agricultural rate. Results of the campaign will determine total energy needed to supply the qualifying customers, the financial impact of potential new rate and its cost.

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Wallen announces resignation as CEO of Grant PUD

EPHRATA – Rich Wallen, Grant PUD general manager/chief executive officer, has announced his resignation from the utility. The resignation, which was given to Grant PUD’s Board of Commissioners on May 7, is effective on June 14. 

Wallen has been with Grant PUD for seven years and served the last two and a half as the utility’s general manager. 

“During his time as CEO, Rich oversaw profound changes at Grant PUD,” stated Grant PUD Commission President Tom Flint. “Under his leadership, we have become more efficient and fiscally sound. Rich led a strategic re-alignment of the utility which sets the stage for Grant PUD to meet the changes and challenges in the evolving electric utility industry. He has also been a tireless advocate for hydropower in the Northwest, serving as a spokesperson for the industry, plus a board member and trusted advisor with many hydropower advocacy organizations.

“I, and the rest of the commissioners, are incredibly grateful for the energy, vision, and heart that Rich dedicated to our organization for the benefit of our customers. We wish him the absolute best as he moves on to the next stage of his career.”

Wallen is leaving Grant PUD for employment with Chelan PUD as their Chief Operating Officer. 

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Commission recap, 4/23/2024 — Discussion continues about preferred rate for ‘ag services.’ More...

Note: The commission recording is delayed this week due to technical issues.We're working to get it posted ASAP.

Discussion continues about a preferred rate for 'ag services'

A lower electric rate for some ag-related activities beyond irrigation could become a new offering for county farms and ranches, as Grant PUD commissioners continue their ongoing discussion about how to improve the utility’s current rate-setting policy.

The proposed “Agricultural Service” rate would apply to electricity that powers certain non-irrigation ag activities, including growing crops, raising livestock and processing or storing agricultural products.

Many ag businesses’ non-irrigation electric service is currently billed under Rate Schedule 2 for General Service or Rate Schedule 7 for Large General Service. Both of these rate classes also include non-ag activities, ranging from small shops to big-box retailers, who can often pass cost increases on to their customers. Farmers usually can’t raise prices to compensate for cost increases. See Grant PUD’s full rate list here.

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How should Grant PUD set its electric rates? Tell us!

Join Grant PUD commissioners for a discussion about the unprecedented growth in electric demand this utility is facing and factors that should most influence the way we set our customers’ electric rates.

Learn more about the utility’s current “cost-of-service-based” rate-setting model. Share your ideas about any factors in addition to cost of service that would ensure our rates help support continued financial strength and contribute to the social well-being, agricultural competitiveness, and commercial and industrial stability of Grant County.

Be part of the conversation — in person or virtually — at one of these upcoming “rate strategy” meetings:

  • Ag customers — Tuesday, April 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Grant PUD headquarters, 30 C Street SW, Ephrata.
  • Small and Med-sized business customers — Tuesday, April 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Moses Lake Civic Center, 401 S. Balsam St. Moses Lake.
  • Residential customers — Tuesday, May 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Moses Lake Civic Center, 401 S. Balsam St., Moses Lake.
  • Rate-setting wrap up — Hear a summary of the feedback received across all customer groups from the previous meetings and learn commissioners’ next steps.
    • Tuesday, June 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Moses Lake Civic Center, 401 S. Balsam St., Moses Lake.

For a link to participate in these meetings virtually (via Teams video conference), please visit https://tinyurl.com/54be8e3n.

Questions? Contact Grant PUD Public Affairs, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Commission recap, 4/9/2024: Grant PUD agrees to buy land for new Ephrata Service Center

 

Commissioners Tuesday unanimously authorized Grant PUD to purchase 34 acres from Grant County for $525,000 for a new Ephrata Service Center.

The parcel is near the Ephrata Walmart, south of State Route 282. The site is east of the old Ephrata Raceway property. Grant County has agreed to install a traffic roundabout at the nearby intersection of SR 282 and Nat Washington Way. The site was chosen over several other properties evaluated for cost, infrastructure, size, land use and constraints.

“This has been a work in progress for quite a while. I appreciate all the hard work from staff,” Commission President Tom Flint said.

The purchase is part of a long-term Facilities Master Plan to replace or upgrade various outdated Grant PUD buildings, including the Moses Lake Service Center and Ephrata Headquarters. The new center will meet Grant PUD’s needs 30 or more years into the future. Its design and location will provide better access, faster response times and more reliable customer service.

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Commission recap, 3/26/2024: Grant PUD sees success in collaborating with industry groups


Commissioners Tuesday learned how Grant PUD has been able to extend its message and priorities through power industry collaboration during a report given by Chuck Allen, Senior Manager of External Affairs and Communications and Annette Lovitt, Public Affairs Officer – Community Relations.

By participating with the American Public Power Association and Washington PUD Association, Grant PUD has been able to secure audiences with state and federal legislators to discuss legislative priorities that will help Grant PUD’s customers continue to have low-cost reliable power. Some of the topics include supporting hydropower and the Lower Snake River Dams, modernizing the Columbia River Treaty, streamlining the federal grant process to help public utilities make upgrades to the power grid, and creating more efficiency in the permitting process for new projects. 

In the past few years, there has been a greater emphasis in having the PUDs serving Grant, Chelan and Douglas counties collaborate to promote public hydropower with an aligned voice and legislative priorities. This has resulted in opinion pieces for regional news outlets originating from the general managers of the three utilities – Rich Wallen (Grant), Kirk Hudson (Chelan), and Gary Ivory (Douglas). The utilities have also worked together on events such as the Clean Energy Expo held last autumn, plus other educational and outreach programs. 

During the presentation, commissioner Terry Pyle asked if there was redundancy in the 20-plus associations that Grant PUD has joined. 

Allen explained that while that may seem to be the case on the surface, each association provides value and “serves their own niche.” He elaborated that while it may seem odd that Grant PUD is a member of Northwest RiverPartners and the Northwest Hydroelectric Industry, both organizations have different roles in promoting hydropower. Northwest RiverPartners is a research and educational association with a mission to help the public have a positive opinion about hydropower. While the Northwest Hydrorelectric Association has that as part of its mission, its primary purpose is to facilitate collaborative efforts between hydroelectric providers so they can improve their operations with technical workshops and peer education opportunities. 

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Grant PUD launches outage alerts via text message 

Grant PUD customers can now stay up-to-date on major power and fiber-optic outages in their specific areas of Grant County by simply reading an alert on their cell phones or computers.

Major outage alerts by text message or email have already begun to Grant PUD customers via the Everbridge Emergency Alert System. This is the same emergency alert system used by Grant County Emergency Management and many law-enforcement agencies around the region.  

Grant County residents with mobile and landline numbers are already included in the Everbridge system. But anyone – even if you live outside Grant County – can opt in to receive alerts by filling out an online form here. Likewise, anyone who is already subscribed can opt out by following the instructions on any of the alerts received.

Grant PUD will use this alert service primarily for “major” outages affecting 100 or more customers and other, occasional, emergency service alerts. The same alerts and updates will continue to be posted on Grant PUD’s Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and the grantpud.org/outages website.

Why stay in the loop?

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Commission recap, 3/12/2024 — Riding on 'Lightning.' More...



From left, Commissioners Tom Flint, Terry Pyle, Larry Schaapman and Judy Wilson return to Grant PUD’s Ephrata Headquarters after taking the District’s new all-electric Ford 150 Lightning for a spin

Riding on Lightning

Commission meeting day, March 12, was a beautiful, sunny one for a drive, especially in Grant PUD’s new all-electric Ford F150 Lightning, half-ton pickup. Commissioners piled in for a test drive and were impressed enough to reserve the truck to drive to an upcoming business meeting. The District paid $45,879, plus tax, for the crew-cab truck, which can carry 4-5 people and has a range between charges of approximately 300 miles.

Ford’s website for the Lightning says the truck can do 0-60 in less than four seconds — not that the commissioners will be exceeding the speed limit to get to their meeting.

Grant PUD Fleet Manager Brian Barrows said the District will put the truck through its paces in the coming months to gauge its practicality for the daily demands of on-the-job duty. The knowledge will help inform the potential addition of future electric vehicles to the fleet, which already includes two all-electric Chevy Bolts, used mostly for Customer Service-related travel.

Wholesale power revenues exceed projections

Commissioners learned during a preliminary fourth-quarter 2023 financial report given by the Grant PUD finance team that the utility’s wholesale power sales exceeded projections, which was the primary driver of the utility’s projected change in net position of $352.9 million at year’s end.

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Commission recap, 2/27/2014 — Fiber build, unit-rehab on track. More...


During their Feb. 27, 2024 meeting, Grant PUD Commissioners:

—  Heard from Aaron Kuntz, Senior Manager of the Enterprise Project Management Office that:

  • Work to upgrade the #6 turbine/generate unit at Priest Rapids Dam is currently 7 days ahead of schedule. The unit is now disassembled and will be rehabbed over the year. Rehab work is finished on five of the dam’s 10 units. All 10 units are planned to be rehabbed.
  • Buildout of the fiber-optic network to the remaining customers of Grant County continued through most of the winter and is on track to be finished by year’s end.
  • A contract to design and build a new Ephrata Service Center — a homebase for area line and electronics crews, warehouse, transportation shop, materials yard and more — was executed under the state’s “Progressive Design Build” process. The site of the new center has yet to be finalized. The existing center is aged and too small.
  • Grant PUD project managers are currently shepherding 34 projects related to Power Production, Enterprise Technology, Facilities, and Power Delivery through various stages of the project management process – initiation, planning, execution, and closing

See the full presentation on pages 40-63 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 1:17:42 on the commission audio.

Heard that the finance and energy-supply-management teams are requesting commission approval for a proposal to protect Grant PUD from the volatile pricing on future electricity purchases needed to ensure a reliable electric supply for its customers

Grant PUD’s federal license to operate Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams entitles the utility to 63.31% of the dams physical generation of electricity and up to 30% of the financial (market) value of the generation from the dams.   The market value is realized through an annual auction process.  From the auction proceeds, Grant PUD receives cash to purchase power on the open market to serve its customers

Grant PUD expects in-county electricity demand will begin to outgrow the utility’s physical and financial share of the dams in 2026-2027. Grant PUD’s share of the financial value is $307 million for 2024. Based on forecasted market prices, next year’s total is estimated at $297 million. 

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Hydropower is the cornerstone of a reliable, clean energy future

(This op-ed represents the shared opinion of Grant, Chelan, and Douglas PUD in support of hydropower and the lower four Snake River dams. Originally released 02/01/2024)

Affordable, plentiful energy is the root of a society that enables economic growth. It’s easy to forget our community’s biggest asset even though it affects everything we do. Now more than ever, our customers need to understand hydropower’s role in the rapidly changing energy landscape, and how we’re preparing for the future.

It’s no secret that the public utility districts of Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties provide very low electric rates. Thanks to the vision of local citizens who voted to create public utility districts, and the commissioners elected to represent them, our PUDs brought low-cost public-owned hydropower to our region over 60 years ago. Today, these hydropower projects are the backbone of a clean energy economy that supports local residents and attracts new industries. As a bonus, the dams provide recreational opportunities and beautiful parks that make our communities a desirable place to live.

Good News for Hydropower

Hydropower’s reputation has seen some highs and lows over the last few years in the regional and national spotlight. The good news is that Washington State’s Clean Energy Transformation Act recognizes hydropower as a clean resource that can help meet carbon reduction goals. That’s a change from 20 years ago, when our existing hydropower wasn’t counted as eligible under the state’s renewable energy standard. At the federal level, recent laws providing billions in clean energy incentives treat hydropower more equitably than in the past. These are encouraging signs. Yet most people don’t really understand hydropower’s crucial role in keeping our electric grid reliable and costs affordable as coal and natural gas generators retire.

Bad News for Hydropower

A recent proposal illustrates this problem and highlights the growing disconnect surrounding hydropower’s importance to our everyday lives. In December, the U.S. government filed an agreement in Oregon to resolve an Endangered Species Act lawsuit against federally owned dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Under the agreement, the U.S. government commits to helping tribes build replacement power for the four Lower Snake River Dams. The goal is to bring the region one step closer to breaching them. Dam breaching is deeply concerning for customers served by utilities (including those in Okanogan and Kittitas counties) who purchase power from the Bonneville Power Administration, which markets the hydropower produced by the Lower Snake River Dams. It is also concerning to regional electric grid managers, who understand there are no easy replacements for the consistent carbon-free energy provided by these dams. Unfortunately, utilities were not allowed to provide input into the agreement, and many of the details are still unclear.

Building on the Hydropower Foundation

Talk of dam breaching fails to recognize that we’re entering a time of extreme change for the electric grid. Projected electricity demand is staggering as new industries and public policy shift more energy use to electricity. The Pacific Northwest Utilities Coordinating Council predicts 20 percent electricity growth in the region over the next 5 years. Meanwhile, state, and federal policies increasingly require that electricity be emission-free. This will entail a combination of energy storage, remote renewables, new transmission lines, and more energy innovation. It’s more likely that the region will need both massive

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Commission recap, 2/13/2024: Commissioners urge faster move toward new electric generation. More...


Commissioners Tuesday urged Grant PUD staff to move more quickly to acquire or otherwise build new generation to meet the energy needs of new and existing customers.

“We need more power. We’re costing our customers jobs,” Commissioner Nelson Cox said. Commissioners Tom Flint, Larry Schaapman and Terry Pyle expressed similar concerns.

Flint called for staff to take a new look at building a natural-gas-powered turbine generator to satisfy energy demand in the shorter term, until the utility can generate more of its own carbon-free power, whether it be via a small modular nuclear (SMR) plant or other resource. Lead time to get an SMR plant permitted, built and operational is approximately 12 years, he said.

“We’re going to need a resource quicker than that,” he said.

General Manager Rich Wallen said the natural-gas turbine could conflict with the state’s carbon-free-energy-supply goals, but staff would look into it.

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Navigating Power Outages: Essential Safety Tips from Grant PUD

DJI_0064-2 Safety Tips for Power Outage

Power outages, whether due to extreme weather or routine maintenance, can be challenging. At Grant PUD, we understand the inconvenience and potential risks associated with these situations. This guide is designed to help you navigate power outages safely and effectively.

Immediate Steps During a Power Outage

  1. Report the Outage: If you experience a power outage, report it to Grant PUD immediately by calling 509-766-2505. This helps us track the outage and restore power promptly as possible.
  2. Unplug Electronics: To prevent damage from potential power surges when electricity is restored, unplug your electronic devices, including computers, TVs, and kitchen appliances.
  3. Flip Power Breakers for Major Appliances/Furnace:When your outage occurs, flip breakers on your high power usage items such as furnace, stove, water heater, dryer, etc. *Appliances responsible for heating water and air consume a significant amount of energy and can contribute greatly to the initial surge in demand when power is restored.
  4. Leave porch light on as a signal:Turning on your porch light helps our utility crews to know when the power is back in different areas.
  5. Use Flashlights, Not Candles: For lighting, rely on flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles to reduce the fire hazard.

Staying Safe and Comfortable

  • Food Safety: Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures. A full freezer can keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Generators: If you use a generator, ensure it’s operated outdoors and far away from windows to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Stay Informed: Keep a battery-powered or hand-crank radio for updates on the outage status.
  • Avoid Electrical Equipment: Stay away from all electrical equipment and cords during an outage.

Preparing for Extended Outages

  • Emergency Kit: Keep an emergency kit ready with essential items like water, non-perishable food, medications, and first aid supplies.
  • Preserving Heat: In colder weather, preserve heat by closing doors to unused rooms and dressing in warm layers.

After the Power Returns

  • Gradual Reconnection: Once power is restored, wait a few minutes before plugging in and turning on major appliances to help prevent any potential electrical system overload.
  • Check for Damage: Inspect electrical appliances for damage or wear that might have occurred during the outage.

Our Commitment to You

At Grant PUD, our crews work tirelessly to restore power as quickly and safely as possible during outages. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these times. Remember, your safety is our top priority. 

Conclusion

Power outages can be unexpected, but being prepared makes all the difference. By following these safety tips, you can protect yourself, your family, and your home.

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3 Ways You Can Help Restore Power Faster During an Outage

Cold Load Pickup Understanding Cold Load pickup and restoring your power faster in Grant County, WA

At Grant PUD, we recognize the importance of keeping our community informed about critical aspects of power management.

Understanding Cold Load Pickup

Cold load pickup occurs when there is a significant increase in electricity demand immediately after power restoration following an outage. If too much electricity is demanded simultaneously, it can strain the power system, leading to delays in restoring power or potentially causing another outage.

How You Can Help

Your proactive steps can greatly influence the stability of our electrical grid. You can contribute by doing these 3 important things:

  1. Flip the Breakers on Major Appliances: When your outage occurs, flip breakers on your high power usage items such as furnace, stove, water heater, dryer, etc. *Appliances responsible for heating water and air consume a significant amount of energy and can contribute greatly to the initial surge in demand when power is restored.
  2. Use Your Porch Light as a Signal: Turning on your porch light helps our utility crews to know when the power is back in different areas.
  3. Wait Before Reconnecting: After power is restored, wait a few minutes before reconnecting your appliances, one at a time. This helps prevent a sudden surge in electrical demand.

The Impact of Your Participation

By reconnecting appliances in a staggered manner once power is restored especially those that consume more energy like heating units, you help distribute the electrical load more evenly. This prevents the risk of overloading the system.

Grant PUD's Commitment

At Grant PUD, we are dedicated to providing reliable and efficient power services. We welcome any questions you might have. Your active participation in managing cold load pickup, particularly by being mindful of high-energy consuming appliances, is crucial. Through these simple yet impactful actions, you contribute to the stability and efficiency of our power system. We thank you for your cooperation and commitment to our community’s well-being.



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Grant PUD Commissioners: Thank you to our crews

Thank you, field crews, for your exceptional service

The recent snap of sub-zero temperatures, high winds and snow created brutally cold working conditions for all Grant PUD field crews, from the Line, Facilities and Transportation departments to substation operators, power system electricians, and relay and warehouse personnel.

We Commissioners say a collective “Thank you” for every sidewalk and parking lot cleared of snow, every vehicle that received extra attention, and for the long, frigid hours spent responding to scattered, weather-related outages and electric system repairs. Our crews have proven themselves to be tough. But their dedication and quality of work during the cold snap went way beyond tough. They showed us again, as they have many times in the past, a “get-it-done” attitude that truly reflects a sense of community and customer service.

We also wish to acknowledge all other employees who work in our power plants, service centers and offices, including powerhouse and system operators, for their efforts to ensure the challenges brought by the weather did not stop us from providing vital service to our customers.

Your work makes a difference. It makes us proud to represent this utility. So, again, on behalf of the entire Grant PUD Commission, we thank you!

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Commission recap, 1/23/2024 — Average 3% rate-revenue increase to begin April 1. More...

Commissioners Tuesday approved a 3% average increase to electric-rate revenue, effective starting April 1, 2024.

The increase will add an estimated $3.50 to the average monthly bill of a residential customer and just over $10 to the average monthly bill of a small business. Learn more about why a rate increase is necessary here.

“We’ve had quite a bit of discussion on this resolution,” Commission President Tom Flint said, referring to past, well-attended commission meetings and workshops, before calling for the vote.

Commissioners were unanimous on the need for a rate increase but differed over how to allocate the increase across customer groups. The approved average increase affects each rate class differently, depending on the cost to provide electric service to each customer group (see table, below). Commissioner Nelson Cox abstained. Commissioner Flint opposed, stating in past rate discussions that he instead favored an across-the-board, 3% increase for all rate classes.

The remaining three commissioners voted in favor of the average 3% increase, saying in past meetings that it was aligned with the existing, cost-to-serve-based rate-setting policy. They all intend to review and update that policy over the coming year.

The increase is needed to cover inflation-driven operational costs related to power generation and distribution, help fund necessary projects and ensure continued financial strength.

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FAQ's on new rates effective April 1, 2024

On Jan. 23, Grant PUD Commissioners approved new electrical service rates for our customers. The new rates, which includes an overall 3% increase, with specific allocations for each customer group will begin on April 1, 2024. To learn more about the decision making behind the rate increase read our recap of the Jan. 23 commission meeting. Below you’ll find answers to general questions we have received about the rate increase during our public meetings and individual discussions with customers.

Why does Grant PUD need to raise rates?

Each year, we look at how our retail rates cover operating expenses to serve our retail customers. We have a goal each year of making sure that projected retail power sales revenue covers our budgeted retail operating expenses. This modest 3% overall rate increase will help us keep up with increasing costs while at the same time ensuring we meet our commission’s goal of small, predictable rate increases.

Why don’t all customer groups get the same rate increase?

Commissioners are presently working under a rate-making policy which establishes certain rate trajectories and targets that provide predictable increases for our customers. Because customers have different power needs and use electricity in a different way, the costs to serve each group of customers are not the same. By factoring in the estimated costs to serve our customers when making these rate adjustments, commissioners are helping to move prices closer to those targets for each of our retail classes. Our commissioners and our customers have had considerable discussion about this rate-setting methodology over the past year and are expected to engage in a public process this year to determine how costs will determine rates in the future.

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Help Grant PUD by reducing your energy use

For immediate release:
Help Grant PUD by reducing your energy use 

Frigid temperatures throughout Grant County and the Pacific Northwest this past week have pushed energy use to record levels, strained many regional electric grids, and put a heavy draw on our region’s capacity to generate electricity.

Grant PUD is asking all our customers, including our large industrial customers and Grant PUD’s own facilities, to avoid the potential for local and regional outages by reasonably and safely reducing electricity use over the next 36 hours until outdoor temperatures warm. This is especially necessary during hours of peak energy use: Between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

How you can help?

— Reduce your building’s heat with thermostats set to a recommended 68 degrees.

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Commission recap: 'Takin' care of business in 2024. And more...

The band Bachman Turner Overdrive lit up the Roseland Ballroom stage in New York City a decade ago with a rockin’ performance of their classic anthem “Takin’ Care of Business” to a euphoric live audience. The band’s guest keyboardist — Paul Shaffer, of David Letterman Show fame — supercharged the song’s finale by tipping his electronic organ on its end, spinning it around so the keys faced the audience and playing it vertically. And that is exactly the YouTube video that Grant PUD Commission President Tom Flint chose to “set the tone” for 2024 at the year’s first commission meeting, Tuesday.

“After years of COVID, Grant PUD is back taking care of business. That’s my motivation to start the year,” said Flint, who is now into his 20th year as a Grant PUD commissioner and a time or three (at least) as commission president. During the business meeting, after lunch, Flint listed the following goals and objectives for 2024:  

  • Be good stewards of our resources. Our employees are our most valuable resource.
  • Continue and enhance our safety culture.
  • Improve our financial ratings and cost effectiveness.
  • Reduce our operating risk.
  • Preserve, protect and perpetuate the history of the Wanapum People and include the history of Grant PUD and the farmers, ranchers and rural residents who made it happen.
  • Further development and expansion should not be at the expense of our core power users.
  • Work to modify the utility’s current cost-of-service-based rate-setting policy, while following existing policy to avoid rate shock, make any rate increases small and predictable, and try to minimize any unintended consequences of rate changes.
  • Pursue other generating resources that are available around the clock, year-round, and are economically feasible, including small nuclear reactors paid for with longterm power contracts – much the way the construction of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams were financed.
  • Support employment in Grant County and growing our own employees.
  • Completing the fiber buildout before the end of the year, as promised.

Hear Commissioner Flint announcing his objectives for 2024 at 2:45:18 on the commission audio.


Fiber staffers propose technology transition to a more cost effective and scalable network service

Grant PUD staff recommend transitioning the current “Active-E” ethernet technology for to-the-home fiber-optic service with industry standard “passive optical network” or PON technology for a more cost effective and scalable service with greater longevity.

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Commission recap, 12/12/2023 — Bond refi to save Grant PUD $7.4 million. More...


External Affairs shares outreach successes in 2023

The External Affairs Department shared highlights from their community outreach efforts in 2023 with the commissioners. One highlight was a national award for the PUD’s Fiber Dog video. The video received an Award of Merit from the American Public Power Association. The same video was named the Audience Choice winner out of more than 10 videos that were shown to attendees during the APPA’s Customer Connection Conference in San Antonio, Texas in November.

Chuck Allen, Senior Manager of External Affairs & Communications told the commissioners that the award was fitting recognition for the hard work of the Public Affairs staff, including Rosalie Black and Raquel Urbina, who developed the video in-house.  

Another highlight was the successful launch of Grant PUD’s 509River.org website the 2023 recreation season. Black explained that the website was developed to help the utility achieve a goal of having more people visit the lesser-known Grant PUD campsites and boat launches on the Columbia River. Black said the marketing campaign associated with the website showed about a 25% increase in campers at the Sand Hollow website in August and that she thought there would be even greater results there and at other target locations including the campsites at Rocky Coulee and Jackson Creek. 

Annette Lovitt, the External Affairs Community Outreach coordinator also told the commissioners that the department will be looking for more opportunities to participate in community events and activities in 2024 to help further the utility’s customer engagement and education goals for 2024. Hear the discussion at 4:09:35 of the commission audio and see page 39 of the presentation materials

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